Laura Wong Hon Chan is an interest rate options trader, who is currently a director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York.
In 2019, she made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for finance.
Here we look at her career in more detail, as part of our Traders To Watch series.
Laura was born in Baie du Tombeau, Mauritius, and grew up on the island. She is billingual, speaking both English and French fluently.
She has stated that being from Mauritius has helped her understand the value of community.
She studied at Lafayette College, a private liberal arts college in Easton, Pennsylvania. There she completed a Bachelor of Arts/Science in mathematics and economics, graduating in 2012.
Her degree concentrated on financial policy and analysis, and she minored in computational methods.
Part of her studies included research using computational economics models to study technological change and product differentiation within the finance industry. Her reseach found that “an increase in the entry cost decreases the rate of technological improvement and increases the extent of product differentiation.”
On becoming vice president of the US rates options trading desk in 2018, she became responsible for maximizing hedge efficiency and liquidity, while also communicating with clients to gauge their macro views and investment profiles.
While vice president in 2018, she succeeded in increasing the exotics desks at Bank of America Merrill Lynch by 40%.
In her role as director since 2020, she works with hedge funds, corporate clients and asset managers. Her reponsibilities include risk management for a variety of derivatives, including structured swaps and vanilla options.
Her specialisms include trading, interest rates, fixed income, and macroeconomics.
Talking to her old college, Laura Wong Hon Chan described her reaction to making the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for finance:
“I was ecstatic and a bit incredulous. But foremost, I was grateful for my family, friends, and colleagues who motivated and supported me throughout my career.”
Laura has stated that several professors at Lafayette College influenced her greatly, including Chris Ruebeck, associate professor of economics.
She also cites Robert Axelrod’s 1997 book The Complexity of Cooperation as an inspiration, which she still reads from time to time.
On her LinkedIn profile, Laura Wong Hon Chan lists Indra Nooyi, Bill Gates, Ray Dalio and Melinda French Gates as influences.
During an interview with her old college, Laura mentioned that she would love to work in the fixed income currencies and commodities division. She would like to continue to work in the execution of trades, but also move into the business development and strategy areas of the finance industry.
This article is part of our Traders To Watch series. If you want to read more, have a look at our pieces on Anjelo Austria, Jesse Reinherz and Jordan Zarrilli.